There will always be people who have different opinions from you. This is not because your views are obscure, but because everyone is different. If you fight against the opinion of others, you are in for a rough ride. At times, it may feel as though doing so is necessary, particularly if their opinions seem ethically unsound. Most of the time, however, people with different opinions from yours simply clash with your ego and leave you feeling ruffled. Understanding this can help you let go of the need to try to change them.
Many spiritual teachings suggest that all opinions stem from the ego, whether they are yours or someone else's. It is said that they develop over time as a form of protective armor, used primarily to shield people's sense of identity from harm. When someone has a different opinion from yours, your ego may feel threatened, as your picture of how you relate to the world and your place in it feels unsteady. You are likely to experience a need to argue until your opinions are considered correct, as getting people to agree with you makes you feel secure.
As you can imagine, everyone, unless they are significantly spiritually enlightened, has similar thoughts when they brush up against someone with different opinions from their own, and a battle can commence to decide who is right or wrong. The person who concedes is left with a bruised ego to nurse, while the other person's ego expands.
Of course, there really are no winners or losers, as opinions are not facts. They are created by the ego, which is why some people can argue that something is black, when to other people it is white. BOTH OPINIONS ARE VALID, as they reflect the individual experience put forward by the ego. When people let go of their ego; however, they are free to examine facts and act on them instead of listening to their inner judgmental voice.
Very few people can truly get rid of their ego in entirety, but they can learn to suspend their ego for short bursts of time when a clash of opinions might take place. You can choose to suspend your ego by being mindful about what your inner voice is telling you. Learn to hear your ego talking as though you were an observer. You can then decide not to follow its advice, and you can deal with people you would normally have found extremely difficult to cope with.
When your ego begins to rise due to a clash of opinions, you will sense it as an energy force, building in volume. You might experience physical sensations such as tight muscles, and emotional symptoms such as a sense of outrage and exasperation.
Recognizing these symptoms can be your cue to switch to becoming the observer of your thoughts.
Once you begin to observe your thoughts rather than letting them push you around, you will discover that you can hear different opinions from yours without having an intense emotional reaction. You may still observe that you don't agree with them, but you can be in the presence of people with different opinions from yours without needing to change them so that they are more like you. You might find you enjoy the discussion and even learn something from it.
There will be times when you are in the company of people who are very different from you. As they may be from a different part of the world, have different political, cultural, religious or educational backgrounds from yours, and have had different experiences, it's likely that they will have different values and opinions. They might not understand that their opinions stem from their ego. In addition, they might not be aware that they can LEAVE YOU TO BE YOU while still keeping their own identity intact. As a result, they might try to change you so that you are more like them and they can enjoy an expansion of ego. If they try to force their opinions on you, step back and observe your thoughts. The result will be that you DON'T NEED TO ARGUE, AGREE, or DISAGREE. Their ego will cease to feel threatened, and you will be able to exist in the same space without anger or difficulty.
Would YOU like to publish an article on Connecting Singles? Are you an expert at something, have an interesting story, or a good lesson to teach... why not share with other members. If you have experience or expertise in a topic that will be of interest to CS members, you may submit an article to be published on the site.
Post your own Article »